Tag Archives: Peace Scholars

Think global act local: “Rotary and Peace the World over”

” To Rotary and peace …” is the closing toast at Aireborough Rotary Club meetings and world peace is something the Rotary movement takes very seriously. Many Rotarians were present at the conferences that founded the United Nations at the end of the Second World War and Rotary was particularly involved in the creation of UNESCO  ( UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation). From those beginnings modern Rotary sees supporting education and international links as a key to promoting world peace

Away from these lofty international heights Aireborough Rotary’s  previous   Back to School to Back Schools post    explained how  we help local  schools  and their  young people prepare for the wider world. This blog we will focus on how Rotary helps older students, through scholarships and exchanges, to  deepen  their subject understanding and  social experiences with the express purposes of breaking down barriers and promoting peace. file-04-12-2016-10-51-08

Over the years Aireborough Rotary  has hosted many exchange students and scholars. Here are just a small, opportunity sample of some of their views. Firstly a couple of students who are with us this year.  ” I really appreciate the [scholarship] because I can experience local culture  and make my studies in England special” KN goes on to say how the Rotary network, especially with each club’s emphasis on its local community,  will give her the worldwide  support and  contacts to develop and extend her important  work in community focussed  public health in the future.

For MM ” the enriching impacts of being in a foreign country… [are] essential to understanding different cultures [and] seeing how the rest of the world lives is essential to being well rounded.” Being abroad has forced MM to develop his communication skills and thus become an asset to any future employer wherever that may be.

Secondly, as the Rotary founders hoped,  the benefits of an exchange last a lifetime. Take, for example,  BK’s   truly fascinating story  of being a 16 year old Slovakian student  on a year long student exchange in Mexico some eleven years ago.  Speaking no Spanish when she arrived and immersed into such a different climate and culture  within six months she was dreaming in Spanish. ” I really loved Mexico’s rich culture and their passion for life [and] dance. It is still my biggest life lesson so far. I learned to appreciate what I had at home … relationships, rights and values.” Clearly having learned  both language and cultural empathy skills so effectively  she is now able to practice as a drug and alcohol therapist in yet  a third,   multi cultural country. BK  was not an exchange student hosted by Aireborough.

Neither was  LK but  her  appreciation of the  opportunities that a Rotary Scholarship gave to improve her musical knowledge and cultural experience  remained so strong that she eventually  was able to fit  joining  Aireborough Rotary into the  busy life of a professional musician. During her time  at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta she was able to round out her musical education and also fly the flag for Rotary as an Ambassadorial scholar speaking to groups across the province. “Music is a truly international language and musicians perform the music of many cultures, developing and promoting greater understanding. Travel is very much involved in our vocation. The Rotary Scholarship has certainly helped me develop my career with a clear sense of purpose and rationale for what I do”

To  end this blog lets pick  up on the musical theme with a song  some students from Zagreb compiled  in celebration of the highs and lows of their  experience   Student Exchange Anthem. A rather more detailed explanation of the exchange programme is in this ten minute video, Rotary Youth Exchange promo

A later blog in this series will look at  Rotary’s Peace Scholars  programme and the very important work of the Peace Studies Centre based here at Bradford University.

If you would like more information on student exchanges and scholarships  or would like  to join us, support us or sponsor us in this work you would be most welcome.  For more information about the Club please find us on Facebook Aireborough Rotary Club

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phone 07599 557410